Isn’t it interesting how people experience life through their smartphones? I was watching the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade, and have to admit that I felt embarrassed for the huge number of people walking right smack-dab into the parade. It was as if they had to be in the spotlight, too. They were determined to be wildly famous for just a minute – and they had to broadcast that minute with a touch of the screen.
With cell phones in hand, they snapped pictures and shot video like they were fearless selfie-paparazzi. Each person seemed completely oblivious to the now-stammering real reporter on the street, the abrupt stoppage of horses, bands and waving ‘personalities’ – and the impatient viewers like me who didn’t tune in to see their grinning faces and flashing phones.
What is this wild need to express ourselves? What compels grown women to dart in front of a Clydesdale or a teenager to jump in front of a Tour de France cyclist? For that matter, why do we as bloggers join posting challenges, then review our stats and check our Friend and Follower counts?
Even as an inconsistent blogger, a less than original Tweeter, and a reluctant Facebook-er (what is the correct terminology for that, anyway?) I have to confess my own desire to be heard beyond my circle of family and friends. Or as a writer, I should be clear that what I really want is to be read. And read widely.
I know that I would continue to write even if no one ever read one more word, but the idea of communicating with the invisible reader is exciting and comforting in some strange way.
A few years ago, I read that the explosion of social media was fueled by a population that needed to be heard and seen. That after years of watching others, we as an entity want to be watched. We are in need of a stage, an outlet, a virtual soapbox.
So it seems to be that we are simply being human. But has our deep need to bond with other people been thwarted by the very technology we use to digitally share our experiences and electronically sing out our convictions? Does so much reaching through the cloud ever satisfy that yearning? Do we as a community of pixelated shadows ever really connect beyond the 1s and 0s of code?
I don’t know. I can’t imagine that a virtual hug will ever feel as comforting as a physical one, or a digital bouquet will someday brighten a day like a tangible one, but who knows?
What do you think? Does social media make you feel connected as a human being? If you are a blogger, Facebook-er (there’s that word again!), or a Tweeter, why do you share your life with the masses? If you knew no one read, watched, noticed your updates – would you continue?